Who you are is so much more important than what you do. For who you are will always dictate your actions. What you do will never transform who you are. If what you do could transform who you are, than behavior modification would be the one and only thing that you would need in order to implement lasting change in your life. As a species, us humans desire to implement long and lasting change, both in our lives and in our world. Each and every single one of us, regardless of religious preference, political leaning, socio-economic status or skin color, knows that our world is faulty. We all know that there has to be a better way out there somewhere, to successfully do this thing called life. Because of this desire, we are always searching, seeking to find answers. Searching and seeking for the solution to fix our faulty world as well as our faulty lives. In this search, one possible solution is behavior modification. Behavior modification is the simplest solution to implement. Each and every single one of us can start doing something different today. Thus, behavior modification has become our default, go-to, solution to a broken life in a broken world.
Yet, behavior modification is not our answer to a broken, sin-stained and hurting life or world. Transformation, from the inside out, is the only answer. This notion has been restated over and over again, through the ages. Life is so much more than what you do, while you are alive. Life is about who you are, while you are alive. The abundant life that God wants to give to each and every single one of us (John 10:10) has nothing to do with your actions. It has everything to do with your identity. Who you are, your character, is the doorway to the abundant life that God desires for all of us to experience. You can’t “do” your character. You can only “be” your character. Thus, no amount of behavior modification will bring about the lasting transformation in our lives or in this world, that we all desire.
Think about this the next time you are struggling with life. Ask yourself what it is, exactly, that is causing you to struggle. On the outside you might be blaming politics, the news, weight gain, depression, anxiety, dysfunctional family, addiction, grief, stress, your job, your friends, your faith, etc. When, in actuality, all of these realities are simply symptoms of something so much bigger and profoundly more influential in your life. These are all symptoms of who you are, your identity, your character, your God-given design as a child of God, in this present moment. These symptoms are reflections of your perspective on life, love, God, each other and the world, in this present moment. I am in no way diminishing the reality of these symptoms. But just as medicine merely treats the symptoms of a larger illness, behavior modification merely treats the symptoms of a larger identity crises. And, none of us are satisfied with merely treating the symptoms of our hurting lives and our hurting world. But all of us continue to run back to the fountain of behavior modification when it comes to changing our hurting lives and our hurting world.
Your identity, who you are, can only be transformed from the inside out. Your identity, who you are, will never be transformed by changing your behaviors. That would be the same as thinking that if your car was sputtering and spitting out plumes of black smoke, you could fix it by simply driving at a different speed on different roads. Not until you do the tough work of transformation, from the inside out, will your identity, your character, who you are, ever be truly changed. The first step, on this journey of transformation, is acknowledging that you need this transformation and that everything you have tried, up to this point, hasn’t worked. Only after this confession can you and will you be open to moving past behavior modification as your go-to fix all. The choice is yours. Continue to try to do the same old thing in order to fix the same old problem. Or, admit that you have a hole in your life, that you can’t fill on your own, and allow God to meet you right there.